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Thomas

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I am a university professor of philosophy with 20 years of experience teaching students to think and write well. I am also an independent college consultant with years of experience helping students write outstanding essays that earn them a spot in their top schools.

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Thomas’ Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Yale University - Bachelors, Philosophy

Graduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - PHD, Philosophy

Hobbies

Hiking, reading, listening to live music, especially jazz

Tutoring Subjects

College Application Essays

College English

College Essays

English

Essay Editing

High School English

Other

Philosophy

SAT Reading

Social Sciences


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I think great teaching flows from a sense of gratitude for the teachers and mentors who have taught us. The care, patience, and individual attention I offer each of my students is a way of giving back to those who offered these things to me, inspiring me to succeed.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Discern the student’s academic needs, show them that success is possible, and develop a plan for how to attain it.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

It is important to not only teach them the skill or concept they lack, but also discern where the difficulty comes from and work with them to become stronger, wiser and more confident in facing similar difficulties in the future.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension skills can be greatly improved by carefully guided practice. Practicing reading and analyzing difficult passages with someone skilled at teaching you to discern their main ideas and arguments, and who can help to explain why certain answers are right or wrong, can make all the difference in your reading comprehension test scores.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teaching philosophy is primarily a matter of teaching students to think for themselves. It is not so much about conveying information about what others have thought, but about prompting students to develop the skill of critical, independent thinking. This can be done by skillfully asking the right kinds of questions and by respecting each student's need to develop and grown on their own.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Providing positive feedback and helping to set clear goals for progress helps students stay motivated.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Starting with an assessment of the student's goals, needs, and current ability level sets the stage for making successful progress.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Confidence is extremely important. Helping students to clearly understand why they are struggling and then providing clear steps for improvement keeps students from getting discouraged.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

It is important to continually ask the kind of questions and pose the kind of challenges that reveal how well the student understanding the material.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Current test scores and grades, together with the student's own goals and self-assessments, help to establish what is needed in each case.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Getting to know each student's individual learning patterns and establishing strong lines of communication between tutor and student allows tutoring to be adaptive to each student's individual needs.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

It depends entirely on the subject matter, but usually there are texts or sample tests that form the basis of our work together.


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